By Ray Balogh
WARSAW — Sally Kauffman builds houses — about 50 of them in the past six months.
The lifelong Kosciusko County resident, who lives “in the country between Etna Green and Mentone” with her husband, Scott, works as an enrollment assistant on the Indiana Tech Warsaw campus, and constructs miniature homes in her spare time.
“I have always worked with my hands,” she said, noting her mom does sewing and various crafts. Kauffman also sews and has made face masks for use by students and visitors on campus.
She made a few little houses for Halloween to display at work, and her efforts were well received. She has also crafted Christmas scenes, a post office and a fabric store, complete with a handmade miniature sewing machine, for her mother. “I have a whole village,” she said.
Her creations include not only the house, made from colored paper stock, but miniature accoutrements like snow, glitter, trees and other items.
Around her “little shack on the beach,” she spread sand from a family whale watching trip to Oregon and added a pail, sandcastle, starfish, turtle and crabs, all of which she made from paper or clay or purchased at Hobby Lobby or Dollar Tree. She leaves a hole in the bottom of her houses for a tea light.
She makes all her artwork from scratch. “The hardest part is figuring out what color to use,” said Kauffman. “From start to finish with everything, it will take maybe a weekend.”
Kauffman also likes to paint, once volunteering to compose a backdrop on a plastic tablecloth for portrait photos at a ladies’ dinner at church. “I painted a barn with snow, a road and a fence.”
She said she prefers artwork depicting “old rustic and rural landscape scenes with old trucks,” but will paint “whatever hits me at the time.”
Not only does she enjoy her free time, she likes her job as well. “It is just fun to come to work,” she said, citing “my co-workers” as the most-liked aspect of her work.
She also said, “It’s a lot of fun meeting the students, some of whom I’ve worked with other places.”
Before she started at Indiana Tech four years ago, Kauffman worked at Little Lambs preschool in Etna Green, had a paper route and was employed at Paragon in Pierceton.
“I quit there to stay home and babysit the grandkids. When they started school, I came to work at Indiana Tech in the evenings.”
Kauffman grew up in Etna Green and graduated from Triton High School in 1982. She and Scott were married on Oct. 2, 1982, and have two married daughters, Stephanie, who lives near Tippecanoe in Marshall County, and Stacy, who lives in Warsaw.
They have five grandchildren, four boys and a girl. “We are overrun with big and little boys,” Kauffman said.
She still keeps a close connection with her family. They all attend Pathway Church in Warsaw, and she starts her workdays “going to my daughters’ to take the grandkids to school.
“My daughters and I talk a lot during the day. We have three-way conversations by text or phone call multiple times a day.”
The Kauffmans like to travel, and often take their camper to Amish country in Ohio
“We call it our grocery shopping,” said Kauffman with a chuckle. “We go to once place for bakery items, another place for meat and cheese and somewhere else for bulk foods.”